(CNN) — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday said he used the wrong words in his comments about Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday, saying they were not a threat.
Schumer’s remarks on the Senate floor came after a slew of condemnations coming from Republicans and the high court’s chief justice.
“Now, I should not have used the words I used yesterday. They didn’t come out the way I intended to,” Schumer said Thursday morning. “My point was that there would be political consequences, political consequences for President (Donald) Trump and Senate Republicans if the Supreme Court, with the newly confirmed justices, stripped away a woman’s right to choose.”
Schumer did not appear to directly apologize, and instead accused Republicans of “gross distortion” and “manufacturing outrage.”
“Of course I didn’t intend to suggest anything other than political and public opinion consequences for the Supreme Court, and it is a gross distortion to imply otherwise. I’m from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language. I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat. I never, never would do such a thing. And Leader McConnell knows that. And Republicans who are busy manufacturing outrage over these comments know that, too.”
Speaking at a rally of abortion rights supporters on Wednesday, Schumer appeared to threaten Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, the President’s two Supreme Court nominees who were confirmed after bruising nomination fights.
“I want to tell you Gorsuch. I want to tell you Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,” Schumer said, turning to look at the Supreme Court building.
Schumer went on to say Wednesday, “The bottom line is very simple: we will stand with the American people. We will stand with American women. We will tell President Trump and Senate Republicans who have stacked the court with right-wing ideologues, that you’re going to be gone in November and you will never be able to do what you’re trying to do now, ever, ever again. You hear that over there on the far-right? You’re gone in November.”
Senate Republicans have criticized the New York Democrat over his remarks. Before Schumer spoke Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed his comments, saying Schumer’s threats were consistent with Democratic actions in recent years critical and distrustful of an independent judiciary.
“As long as this majority holds the gavel, we will never let the Minority Leader’s dangerous views become policy. This majority will ensure the only casualties of this recklessness are the reputations of those who engage in it,” McConnell said.